6 Best Types of Wood for Bathroom Cabinets – DIY Vanities

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If you’re getting your bathroom fitted with a vanity, picking the right kind of wood can be a daunting decision. Changing the cabinets will not only will it revamp your space without doing a total remodel, but it can also provide you with extra storage. You can conduct your morning routine in a more comfortable and organized manner.

If you are building your own bathroom vanity or cabinets out of wood, there are several decent options but the decision will come down mostly to your budget, especially with the rising wood prices. High-end cabinets from Cherry, or Teak can add class to a bathroom. Most consumers look to quality light woods like Birch or Maple which have nice grain and finish. Budget options include plywood and MDF, these engineered woods are used for mass-produced bathroom cabinets (i.e. IKEA), they are cheap but won’t last anywhere near a decent natural wood.

Below, we go over the different types of wood starting with the mid-range and then cover some premium woods and finally some budget alternatives for your bathroom cabinets.

Best Wood for Bathroom Vanity & Cabinets


Birch cabinets
Birch cabinets (Image: Philip Fibiger)

A cheaper alternative to teak as solid wood for your bathroom vanity project is birch wood. You can find this hardwood all over the world, and it is widely available in the United States. Birch has creamy-white sapwood with a dark brown heartwood. Thus, you get a good color range, and you can select your wood to suit the surroundings.

Birch has similar properties to maple. The uniform and close-grained structure make it waterproof. For this reason, birch is one of the preferred choices for making bathroom cabinets.

Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir wood
Douglas Fir wood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

If you are looking for a light wood for your bathroom cabinets, then fir is also a good option. You are most likely to get Douglas fir because that is the most readily available type of fir wood in the United States and Canada.

Douglas fir has excellent workability and takes nails and screws well. It also bonds well with various glues and takes different types of finishes with ease. Hence, you will be able to make some very smart-looking but sturdy and durable bathroom vanities from Douglas fir.

If you’re going for a more affordable option, use solid wood, plywood, or MDF that is adequately sealed from moisture.

If you are selecting hardwoods, then oak or maple would be a suitable choice due to their inherent resistance to water. Avoid using vanities with veneer finishes, because the veneer tends to peel off the wood base (also called the veneer substrate) over time.


Omega National Maple Blind Corner Caddy
Maple Blind Corner Caddy. (Image: Amazon)

Maple is another top choice due to its smooth finish and even grain. These characteristics make it an easy wood to paint, stain or poly. These versatile finishing options make it a good wood for either traditional or modern bathroom finishes.

Most maple sold in the US is Sugar Maple or “Hard” maple. It’s also a relatively affordable option vs more expensive options like Walnut or Cherry.

Maple and birch are compared often- based mostly on their affordable price and availability.

Cherry – Premium

Cherry wood engraving
Cherry wood 

This distinctive hardwood is highly regarded for its elegant color and appealing grain. Another attractive characteristic of cherry wood is that it darkens as it ages, taking on a rich reddish-brown hue.

Cherry is often used for high-end furniture including both kitchen and bathroom cabinets. The closed, straight grain of cherry wood along with its color and durability all make it a good choice for indoor furniture and built-in bathroom cabinetry.

Teak – Premium

Teak wood
Teak wood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Our first type of wood under the solid wood category is teak. This wood enjoys wide popularity for bathroom vanities as it looks good and is extremely durable. However, using teak for your project can be an expensive business. Hence, many people steer clear from teak in favor of some of the cheaper varieties of wood.

Teak produces natural water-resistant oils and has a natural resistance to insects, rot, and decay. It takes polish well, and the tight, straight grain of the wood adds further to its waterproof nature. If you have the budget, using teak for your bathroom vanity project would be very appropriate.

Plywood – Budget

Plywood bathroom cabinets
Plywood bathroom cabinets (Image: Christian Brothers)

Plywood, which consists of multiple layers of veneer glued together into sheets, is a popular wood for making vanities. This wood enjoys so much popularity because it is so easy to work with, and it comes treated to be moisture resistant. It is also very cost-effective and has considerable strength.

There are a few downsides to plywood. It needs adequate protective coating like paint, veneer, or laminate. Also, plywood can never provide the look and feel of solid wood. The edges of the plywood are very susceptible to damage by water.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) – Budget

MDF (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

We consider MDF as “engineered wood.” MDF is composed of fibers and small pieces of different types of wood, bonded by glue. The surface of the boards consists of a veneer or some waterproof coating.

Despite its good looks, MDF is not as durable as plywood or solid wood. Hence, if you are looking for a more durable solution for your bathroom vanity project, you would probably do well to use plywood or solid wood.


We talked about what to look for in a bathroom cabinet. We then described five of the most popular types of wood that we use to make this category of furniture. Now, armed with this information, whether you build one or buy your bathroom cabinets, you can make a suitable choice.


Featured Image by JamesDeMers